Cosmic Girls

Lunch last week with the gorgeous Cosmic girls. Cosmic? Well, that's a stretch, but they do represent some corners of the earth....Egypt, NYC, Bavaria, and Illinois.... and they were taken at Cosmic Cafe down on Oak Lawn.

Love the postprandial smiles, courtesy of some delish veg food, vino, and their awesome vegan coconut cake....and funky decor.

Wish we could do this more often! But it's the occasion that makes it all the more special.

Five on Friday


Five on Friday ~
1. Flowers - above is a photo of what I'm sure is my garden's last rose for the year
2. Friends - old and new....and rediscovered :)
3. Farsi - re-learning this language is keeping my brain working....vey, daaram pir misham!!
4. Firefighters - I love mine :)
5. Friday!! - gateway to the weekend.........
Hope you enjoy yours

Da ist der Wurm drin!!

Long work day on Monday. Looong, looooong day. Running one report after another. Hm, how to reward myself?

Why, chocolate, of course!!

I opened the strawberry & pepper Hachez chocolate I recently received....and out crumbles the chocolate.

Crumbles?? Does chocolate crumble?? you wonder.

I wondered, too, and followed that thought up with da ist der Wurm drin -- German for "something is wrong here."

Something was definitely wrong here. Check it out....



Snapped a picture of one happy little Wurm doing the "red carpet" in, out, and all about my chocolate. Some of his camera-shy friends were hiding inside the bar. Literally da ist der Wurm drin!

Guess worms like chocolate too :)

Speechless Wednesday


I added a photo a few weeks back for "Wordless Wednesday," something I've seen other bloggers do. Something I'd like to keep up occasionally.


But not today...


I had another picture in mind for today's Wordless Wednesday post -- until I checked the mailbox today. Instead of the usual bills and adverts, I pulled out a little brown box from Bremen, Germany. Stuffed to the gills with individually orange-paper-wrapped gifts of incredible merino lace yarns, Hachez chocolates (one is strawberries & pepper!!), patterns, and other little goodies, I just had to post the photo. Lovely package from my Amazing Lace knitting swap partner, Angela :)


Can't wait to start knitting!!


Oh, by the way, I hid the Hachez chocolates in my office...heh heh heh :)

Kalte Natscherl und warme Trutscherl

"I'm starving. What're we gonna have for dinner?"

Kalte Natscherl und warme Trutscherl.

"Mm, what's that??

After recent feasts of mutter paneer and dosas, saffron and rosewater bastani, and melanzane sott'olio (a gift from Adele - mille grazie!!), I guess J would be anticipating something on the creative & fantastical end of the culinary spectrum ;)

He was about to get something creative all right, but if I'd told him "I'm making fried rice"....well, suffice it to say he'd be happy he was getting something to eat -- but it just didn't sound as exotically enticing.

Kalte Natscherl und warme Trutscherl....that's what my Omi used to tell us when we'd ask her what was for lunch or dinner. We never knew what to expect. Sometimes that meant:


  • A guate Supp'n mit Suppenfleisch. Beef noodle soup was always a complete meal at Omi's house. First, she'd serve the broth and noodles served in large shallow Suppenteller (soup plates). Then she would slice the meat she'd used for the broth, and that would be served, with lots of salt and pepper, a lovely green or cucumber salad, and maybe some vegetables.

  • Gulasch. Gulasch, as served in Bavaria has nothing at all to do with what most Americans think of as "goulash" (rather ghoulish, IMHO). My grandmother's dish was made from onions, special cuts of meat, fragrantly fresh paprika from Hungary, and caraway seeds all slow-cooked to a spicy stew which she served with boiled potatoes, or sometimes with Spaetzle, and a small dollop of sour cream to tame the spice. Ah, Szegedinergulasch....

  • Apfelstrudel. Which meant, first course: a light soup, then second course: Strudel!!!

Sometimes it was leftovers. Especially then would we hear the Kalte Natscherl und warme Trutscherl response coming from the kitchen.

Thus, my response as noted at the top of this post. Truth be told, I'd have probably told myself the same thing instead of saying "fried rice." After all, fried rice doesn't exactly conjure "feast." But there's something about it. First of all, it's an ingenious way to use leftover rice. And what better way to clean out the veggie bin, right? That odd piece of zucchini or stalk of kale hiding underneath the bag of potatoes and ginger, which are both camouflaging the celery and cilantro. You know what I'm talking about. We both know all about those stray peas or shriveling baby carrots rolling around in the crisper!! Uh huh!! And, last but not least, it's quick comfort food.

Speaking of odd pieces of non-optimally ripe veggies, today I spent several hours on telecons & live meetings - my ears feel like cauliflower florets! Truly, the last thing I want to think about is cooking dinner. But I'm hungry too. What to make?!?!

What's in the fridge? Cold rice with peas, an onion, one lonely zucchini, some ginger, some roasted garlic, a lovely heirloom tomato, and a few sprigs of cilantro. Spin the wheel, Vanna!

And it's spinning...Soup? Pizza? Salad? Spinning slows and stops on Casserole? No, it stops on (in your best AM radio announcer voice) Kalte Natscherl und waaaarme Truuuutscherl. And tonight that means fried rice!

Fried rice?? Is fried rice worthy of it's own blogpost?? Well, all I can say is that after tonight's dinner, J suggested that "you should always cook extra rice so we can have fried rice." (Love his use of pronouns there!!) Maybe we were both just hungry, but here's how I made it:

Note: This is just a basic pattern; you can use whatever kinds of veggie combination you like. Or try adding sauteed pineapple and topping with holy basil and lime (instead of cilantro and lemon) for a more Thai version. Sometimes I toss in chopped kale or chard, or diced eggplant (the slim Japanese kind), or some bell pepper, whatever. Or you can vary the spices: leave out the ginger and habanero and use comino & chipotles, a handful of corn, and maybe sprinkle with some pecorino. Be creative!


KNWT Fried Rice

Coconut oil, a few tablespoons
½ cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 habanero pepper, minced
Roasted garlic cloves, maybe 10-12
1 medium zucchini, diced
½ green peas
1 tomato, diced
2 cups cold rice, I like brown basmati
Black pepper
½ cup chopped cilantro
Tamari (gluten-free), to taste
lemon

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. When it’s shimmery, add the chopped onion, and sauté for a few minutes – until glassy. Toss in the ginger & pepper – don’t inhale J -- the oils in the habanero can take your breath away!!

When the onion is golden, add the garlic, zucchini and green peas. Saute until the zukes are softened, then add the diced tomatoes and continue stir frying for a few minutes.

You may need to add more oil to the pan at any time during this dish.

Add the rice to the pan, breaking up any clumps, and stir fry till the rice is hot and no longer has a "grainy," crunchy core.

Grind on lots of black pepper, stir in the cilantro, and taste if it needs more tamari or pepper.

Plate it up, generously sprinkle with fresh lemon juice, and voilà – a most delicious version of kalte Natscherl und warme Trutscherl!!

Mahlzeit or bon apétit!

So, now it's your turn: What versions of kalte Natscherl und warme Trutscherl do you make??

Za'aferaan khordi??

Anytime I used to giggle or belly-chuckle, Khanom-e Mansoori would ask me: "Za'aferaan khordi?"

Translated from Farsi, that means: "Have you eaten saffron?"

Apparently saffron is an upper, it makes you smile. And saffron in great quantities makes you giggly.

Saffron makes everything yellow -- the happy color -- so it makes total sense, right??

Tonight we celebrated the Firefighter's engagement to Nessa. A happy occasion at Jasper's in Plano. A great place to eat, by the way, if you're vegan or gluten-free. Well, there's not much on the menu, but if you ask your server, they'll gladly tell you that Chef is happy to accommodate your wishes. Would you like something based on pasta or rice? Would you like something spicy? Something with Indian flavors? Greek? Italian? It's just so pleasant to be able to get something other than the standard salad or grilled veggie platter. I can have that at home!! They made me and Nini Bell a delicious spiced rice dish, with lots of veggies, and plenty of heat. Best restaurant dish I've had in a loooong time.

Dessert for vegans or gluten-freers, on the other hand, is always a tad more difficult. So the vegan/gluten-free offer tonight was....please don't say it...fruit. Oh, believe me, I would've enjoyed the butterfinger creme brulee or chocolate mascarpone cheesecake had they been vegan/vegetarian or GF. I encouraged everyone else to partake, but personally passed on dessert and instead had an espresso with brandy -- cafe corretto, as they call it in Italy. Well, after all, I had dessert waiting at home....

I've been thinking a lot about Persian ice cream lately. Not sure why.

The other day at the Indian grocer's, I picked up a bottle of rosewater....for sentimental reasons. The firefighter used to love vanilla ice cream drizzled with rosewater. Aww, seems like forever ago....and now he's getting married....awww....

Anyway, I had this idea to make saffron-rosewater ice cream. I knew it wouldn't be exactly like the Akbar Mashti ice cream we used to buy: rosewater, saffron & pistachio-flavored ice cream studded with chunks of frozen cream, usually served along with faloodeh & sour cherry syrup. This would be the casalinga style -- the home-made style. I started with dissolving some saffron in boiling water, stirring in some sugar, mixing in the rosewater, finishing with coconut cream and then chilling.

I thought about it during dinner, wondering if it would be worth the wait. It is. This has more of a gelato consistency -- all the better, as you can eat more of it :)

You'll want to use really good saffron for this because it's the main flavor. Saffron itself is a deep red color, but will turn the liquid a lovely yellow-orange and smell perfumey and intense. If it doesn't, it's probably old, flavorless, and not worth adding to your dish. Buy the best you can afford and store it tightly-sealed in a dark, dry spot in your cupboard. Also, buy your rosewater from a Middle Eastern or Indian grocer - don't confuse this with the rosewater you buy in the bartender section of your local grocery/liquor store.

Rosewater Saffron Ice Kreme

1/2 teaspoon best quality saffron
2 tablespoons boiling water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup rosewater
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup coconut cream
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

In a small bowl, steep the saffron in the boiling water for about 5 minutes. Stir in the rosewater and sugar.
In a blender, combine the coconut milk & cream and almond extract. Add the saffron mixture.
Blend well, then refrigerate for a few hours.
When the mixture is chilled, pour into the ice cream maker and churn until done.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

Bah bah bah! as the say in Iran. Noosh-e jaan....enjoy....

And I hope you have lots to smile about :)



Technicolor lunches, Rohrschach, and Blue Teeth

"What is this??"

What do you mean, what is this?? It's ice kreme!

"It looks like something the dogs ate -- and gave back."

Real funny! You mean like a technicolor lunch??

"A what?"

Technicolor lunch. That's Aussie for lunch 'the second time around'...

"Wow, this is delicious. What's in it??"

Myrtilles.

"So that's Aussie for..."

Nothing. It's French for blueberries :)

And it is absolutely delicious. J says it's now his favorite (till the next flavor). And much more colorful than the photo shows...and just a tad bluer than your teeth, gums, and lips will look after a bowlful :)

I remember years ago reading an account by Martha Stewart about how she'd served one of the European queens (Beatrix, maybe??) visiting the US a lovely pie made with some Concord grapes. She was proud to be able to showcase the fragrant purple globes in a typical American dessert: Flaky pastry, oozing a brilliant filling, topped with some whipped cream. Can't you just imagine the perfect plate and pie fork that Martha would have chosen for serving the pie? Yumm, who wouldn't want a slice?!

And then, to her horror, she realized why one does not serve blue desserts to royalty or any other important dignitary -- as people smiled at eachother they displayed lips and teeth stained, albeit temporarily, a dingy, washed-out shade of indigo.

Well, I'm here to tell you that eating this blueberry ice kreme will produce similar results. But if everybody eats some, it'll be like when everybody eats raw onions: nobody will really care. Except that everybody will want more of this kreme. Which is what J is counting on...

"I think we should sell this stuff. Really!"

We could call it Technicolor Lunch flavor.

"I'm serious, Banana. Get a booth at the farmers market in Bueny. Make this out of organic bluebs. Give people a taste of this in these, you know, little sample cup things, and then have some ready and some churning. And we could make plum jam. How much do you think we should charge?" he continues as I'm scraping the rest of the ice kreme out of the freezer bowl.

I'm wondering how we're going to squeeze our farmers market ice kreme business in with raising and spinning alpaca wool, running a B&B, climbing 14ers, building greenhouses for our year-round organic garden, holding knitting retreats, breathing, and teaching our old dogs new tricks.

I think I know how Rohrschach felt when he created his inkblots. They throw people off momentarily. They're derailing. Hand them an inkblot, they stop on a dime and give you that blind-sided "what's this?" look. His point exactly.

I hand J his second bowl of ice kreme and ask him what it looks like.

"A dream."

Hmmm...

Well, here's how I made Rohrschach's Technicolor Lunch Kreme last night :)

In the blender, whiz about 1 cup of blueberries, a spritz of lemon juice, some sweetener (sugar, honey, maple syrup, stevia -- I used 2 packets of stevia and a spoon of wildflower honey, but use whatever turns you on), and some coconut milk, maybe 3/4 of a cup -- enough to be able to blend the berries. When it's a uniformly crazy blue, add 1 cup or so of coconut cream. Pour into the ice cream maker and let that baby churn.

Enjoy...and don't forget to smile :)

Step softly and wait for das Lichtlein

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It's 1968 and Poesie Albums are all the rage at our all-girls prep school in Traunstein. Guess they're one of those things that "fad" in and out over generations. Leather-bound albums that were circulated among friends who decorated the pages with little drawings, poetry, maybe a "wish you were here" postcard, and signed and dated in friendship....or more.

I have one that belonged to my great aunt Marie, filled with art nouveau and stylized flowers, wreaths, etc. Sweet memories of friends…

I have one that my grandfather gave to my grandmother when they married. Has all sorts of drawings and little watercolors, along with love poems pledging eternal devotion. Ultimate proof that paper is patient - Papier ist geduldig.

mariele doll  braeutchen  hinter mich

My own is a red leather diary-like album, complete with lock & key. My mom drew a beautful tiny Japanese crane lifting in flight, with the words: Verzeih den anderen alles, Dir selber nichts. (Forgive others everything, yourself nothing.)

mama poesie

My sister drew some lovely blue morning glories cascading over a wall, with the poem ending in the words, "The truest joys they seldom prove who free from quarrels live. 'Tis the most tender part of love eachother to forgive."

janine poesie

These two "posts" are etched in my mind and I think of them often. Not that I've always followed the good counsel, but if I stray from the path, I try to get myself back in line.

Of all the beautiful & sentimenal writings and drawings in all the albums, one comes to mind as frequently as all the others put together. Maybe it's because it's what the writer put into each person's album that she wrote in:

marlies poesie

Roughly translated as: “Just when think you can’t go on, from somewhere a light will appear.”

I repeated that phrase more than once going up Mt. Yale last week. A tough slog, seemingly straight up, with some slippery troughs near the summit. Whenever I thought “this is the last step I’m taking in the summit direction,” I’d tell myself, immer wenn Du denkst es geht nicht mehr… and like magic, I’d make it a few more steps.

Made me think of climbing Mt. Belford last year. I was so out of shape; had not trained – had not even walked the dogs – in the weeks leading up to that climb. Halfway up the switchbacks I wondered what in the world I was doing there. Well, the wondering probably started when we hit the trail at 3 a.m. that morning, but it hit me like a ton of bricks halfway up the mountain. Labored breaths, a summit that I did not seem to be closing in on, a chilly wind that had my lips numb, and an exposed trail that had about a 500’ drop on the left side…and this guy walks up behind me…says what a great day it is to be up on the mountain.

“I’m so tired,” I said, “and I have a terrible fear of heights.”

“Step softly,” he said. “Try to step without making a sound. It’ll help. And, if you need to, hold my hand.”

Truer words were never spoken about climbing or hiking. It didn’t really make the climb easier, or the grade less steep. But it made me slow down and focus on making it easier for myself, to quit chafing. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot…all the way to the top.

Life is not always easy. Sometimes we have that tough uphill climb, revel on the summit, and then realize we’ve still got to make it down – using a whole nother set of muscles.

Step softly…and just when you think you can’t go on, wait for that light to appear…

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Plum delish!

Again (!) it's been way too long. Can't believe the last post was....April???

Lots going on. Super busy with work. Just back from another working vaca in Colorado -- hiking the Rockies. Actually glad to give my thighs a rest -- boy were they happy to sit in my office chair today....237 new emails and all....

Knitted my first sock!! A pattern called Kalajoki (find it on Ravelry), like the Finnish river. Once I finish the left sock, I may just frame the pair :)


Published my first knitting pattern on Ravelry -- it's a free download, so go grab it.

Making lots of ice kreme (vegetarian/vegan style ice cream) -- fresh plum is our fave so far, with banana slipping in a close second. The plum is this simple to make:

Whiz 5 pitted organic plums in a blender, peels included, until they're "apple-saucy." Add some flavorful, natural vanilla extract or vanilla bean seeds, a teaspoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice, a bit of sweetener (2 packets of stevia should do it, depending on how sweet your plums are), and a good cup of coconut cream (not the kind you use in mixed drinks, but the kind used for Thai cooking). Blend it well and refrigerate. Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker (I've got the kind that has a frozen canister); churn for about 15-20 minutes. Perfect!!!

I thought about this ice kreme while we were hiking, and how good it would've been when we were back in our cabin after a long day out in the mountains. Although it was chilly up at 12-14,000 feet, it was relatively warmer (75 degrees) at "base camp," and something cool and kremey would have been soothing.

I also thought about how to make a hiking trip more pleasurable and made mental notes for the "Top 10 tips while hiking/climbing". That will be the next post, along with some photos of the trip. Stay tuned.

Meanshile, what kind of ice kreme do you like....or fantasize about??

Salad for dinner? Again?? Ok!!

“Hey, B invited me to go out to eat with him and C.”

Oh, great! (Not really. I know where this is heading.) Where’re you guys going?

“We’re gonna grab a buffalo burger.” (My dinner fate is sealed.)

Ok, yeah, that’s cool.

“And that way you won’t have to cook tonight. Right??”

Uh, well, I DO have to make myself something.

Yeah, but you can eat salad or something…” he trails off as he heads out the door.

Yeah, I can eat another salad, I grumble to myself, just like I do every day of the year.

Honestly, I wasn’t much in the mood for salad tonight. I’d planned to grill some shrimp with lemon and pepper for J, steam some broccoli, and try out this new gluten free organic black bean spaghetti I’d picked up at Whole Foods the other day. Maybe toss it with a cumin-cilantro vinaigrette and some diced tomatoes. Maybe some chiles, too.

Ah, instead I opened the fridge, got out the lettuce and started to prepare my salad – my dinner. I gave it a good swirl of evoo; spooned on the lemon juice; a good squirt of Braggs liquid aminos rounded out the vinaigrette. Tossed on some raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds, a small handful of toasted almonds. Topped it all with tomato cubes and dried cranberries.

As I sat down to eat, I wondered what kind of crackers or chips we had to go with the salad. Not in the mood for rice crackers. Definitely no toast. Didn’t have any kind of focaccia or other heart bread around.

Naturally I went for the sprouted corn tortillas. Heated a pan over medium high, tossed on a tortilla and let it get flavorful, ripe banana brown spots on each side. It was a bit dry and stiff when I put it on the plate and that’s when I had my “aha” moment – I’m having tostadas tonight!!

Onto the tostada went part of my salad. Muy sabroso!! That was a great dinner :)

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Anyway, I think is going to be one of my “go to” meals this summer. It’s fast; it’s nourishing; it’s gluten free; it’s delicious.  And I’m just imagining it with some black beans scattered on, or some ruby quinoa, maybe some diced mango. The possibilities are endless -- it’s salad :)

I’ll get to the black bean spaghetti and keep you posted.

These cupcakes are real lemons…

IMG_3785Lemon tree, oh so pretty!

And, indeed, the lemon flower is sweet!! Our lemon tree is blooming and the scent that floats through the yard is indescribable…sweet lemony perfuminess. The bees are buzzing around it and it makes me feel like I’m contributing to the earth’s fruitfulness.

I can’t wait till the flowers start producing little lemons, and the little lemons, in turn, become big, edible lemons. We “harvested” about 10 of them last year. Hope we can have at least that many again this year.

Lemons make me happy. They make everything taste better, they’re so cute to look at, they’re so versatile. How on earth did they become associated with things that are wrong??

"The car’s a real lemon!” Shouldn’t that mean “it’s a perfectly perky little automobile?"

“We bought a new fridge and it’s a real lemon!” And you know whoever is saying that is swathing the statement in utter disgust. Oh, that breaks my heart!!

“I made a batch of cupcakes yesterday and they’re real lemons.” With that statement I’d like to change forever the association of lemons with anything subpar, for the lemon cupcakes are real winners. They’re lemons :)

So here’s the story:

Every day when we juice, we juice at least a couple of organic lemons, peel and all. I love the juice in place of vinegar in salads. Imagine the sparkle it adds to steamed broccoli and asparagus. Somehow juicing the whole thing softens, yet intensifies the flavor all at the same time. Mm, sooo good!

J has been begging me to make him a lemon cake. I used to make this delicious vegan lemon cake – and since I’ve gone gluten free, no more lemon cake. I refuse to put that much work into something I can’t eat. So I’ve been trying to figure out how to make the lemon cake that he insists he dreams of. Geez, can he get any more dramatic??

The other day I got my weekly e-mailer from Whole Foods and they had a recipe for gluten-free spice cupcakes. I don’t know, spice cupcakes just don’t do anything for me in spring or summer. Maybe in a snowbound winter, but not in warm weather. Anyway, I looked at the ingredient ratios and thought, I could do this with lemon!!!

Act I. Scene I - So I got everything out, mixed the batter up, dropped it into the lined cupcake tins, and popped them in the oven. Oh my, they smelled grreat!! They rose beautifully and…deflated with a vengeance. Hmmm.

I let them cool and then gently peeled the paper off. Not sure why I peeled it gently because I could tell from the weight of the cake that it was not a gentle thing. I handed one to J with the look of promise in my eyes, and we bit into them.

“They’re different! Good, but different,” he said. “They remind me of mochi. Lemon mochi.

“That’s because I made them with sweet rice flour,” I sighed. “That’s the only kind of rice flour I had.”

Shoot, these cupcakes were lemons. They tasted soooo good, but they felt like a ton of lead in the belly. Ach, lemons!

“Ok, J, I’m making these again,” I said, “but this time I’m using brown rice flour. I’ll buy some and give them another shot.”

Act II - Several days later. The lemon chorus: “They’re different. Good, but different. Why are they so gritty?”

He was right. The brown rice flour brought back memories of “that thar cowpoke eatin’ dust and a-dyin’ in the desert”.

Another batch of good old-fashioned lemons.

“I’m gonna give these one more shot. One more shot and that’s it. If they’re not right, I’m not wasting any more time on your dream cake. Harrumph!!” Exit kitchen left.

Act III. Deus ex machina. (Well, not really, but my college degree likes it.) Kitchen alchemy begins. Powders are measured and mixed. Liquids are blended and swirled. The elements are cajoled to bind thee one unto another till teeth thee do part. The little muffin tins are lined and filled and the mounds of lemony batter are whisked to their igneous fate. Trial by fire. Leia and Sonoma can feel the tension building as the cloud of lemony scent billows its way through the house.

A cupcake is plated. Lemon blossom and blackberry crown it, as a few more berries surround the cake as if to soften the blow as it, too, falls from dream grace.

“Banana! This is THE best cupcake I have ever eaten. In my whole life.” J is drifting in an out of gastronomic delirium.

Well, I don’t know if they’re the best thing E.V.E.R, but they’re pret-ty delicious. They’re real lemons!!

IMG_3782

I changed the original recipe up and down and all around. These babies are vegetarian AND gluten-free. How much better does it get?! And if you want to veganize them, substitute for the butter in the frosting. They don’t need frosting, but sometimes there’s nothing like a little dab of icing on the cupcake to do ya

.

Give them a try and let me know if you agree with J :)

Lemon Cupcakes – Vegetarian & Gluten-free

Ingredients:

2 T ground flax seeds

1/4 c water

2/3 c vanilla yogurt

1/3 c sugar

1/2 c coconut oil

1/2 c coconut milk

1 t fresh lemon juice (I used juice from a juiced lemon, peel and all)

1 t freshly grated lemon zest

1 c brown rice flour

1 c Pamela’s baking mix

1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t xanthan gum

1/4 t salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cupcake tin with muffin liners.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the flax seeds and water. Set aside.

3. In a bowl, mix together the yogurt and sugar. Whisk in the coconut oil until well incorporated. Add the coconut milk, lemon juice and zest. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

5. Stir the flax seed mixture into the liquid mixture, then pour all into the flour mixture. Mix until no flour is visible. Drop the batter evenly into the 12 cupcake liners and bake for about 23 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

The cupcakes are fairly delicate, but firm up a bit as they cool. Serve as is, with fruit, ice cream, frosting, or any combination of the aforementioned. Enjoy!!

Lemon Frosting

4 T softened butter

1 T coconut oil

2 T lemon juice (juiced lemon, peel and all)

1 1/2 c icing sugar

Beat the butter and coconut oil together. Blend in the lemon juice. Stir in the icing sugar, then beat till well-combined. Frost cupcakes as desired.

1 day later…

So I thought the lacy shrug I posted about yesterday was a pattern I’d found on Ravelry. Well, the link can be found there. But actually it’s a pattern called Ribbed Lace Bolero and it can be found here on the “10 feet high” blog. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

And, now, gotta run because I just had this -- a goblet of zingy-zappin’ energy juice: apples, carrots, celery, lemon, beets, cranberries, sea buckthorn, cherries, grapefruit, tangerines, oranges, and ginger…

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and because this big girl and her sister are ready to go on a nice long walk.

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25 years later….

8pm and it’s still light outside. I love it!!

Light breeze, all the windows are open, and I was just going back through time courtesy of a photo album S gave me the other day. Ha, there are some photos of me back in 1984 knitting a sweater I’d be wearing in the 1985 photo of me on a train from Berlin to Munich. Seems like another world ago. Check these out…

Stricken 1985-1  Stricken 1985

Someone asked me not too long ago if I ever knitted anything but shawls. I don’t currently knit much besides shawls, but there was a time when I made all kinds of things. I used to knit my little Firefighter’s sweaters, hats, and booties. Obviously, from the pictures, I used to knit myself little sweaters. But there’s an element of mindlessness that comes with knitting shawls that I find comforting, necessary for my life phase. Even the ones with complicated patterns are somehow mindless. And they never “don’t fit.” They’re always just right. And I love that they can be made in any color under the sun. I usually knit with wool, but for my upcoming trip to Florida, I wanted cotton or silk and found some gorgeous ones at Woolie Ewe. I’m nearly done with the marigold Ishbel, but wouldn’t you know it, I ran out of yarn and need to buy another hank to finish about 9 rows plus the bind-off. Ach, knitting trauma.

The flamingo wool I bought is actually going to be another shawl. First I thought I’d knit another Ishbel, but decided to branch out and try another pattern. What could be more fitting for a trip than Traveling Woman? Here’s a peek at the stockinette portion; the lace pattern is about to begin tonight since the marigold one is on hold.

Flamingo TW

I had bought some silvery lilac cotton, too, and instead of a shawl actually made a little shrug. I found the free pattern on Ravelry, but can’t remember the name. If I think of it, I’ll post it. So, I like the shrug even though it’s a little big. Maybe I can shrink it a bit with a good hot wash?? Anyway, I have one skein left. Not sure what it will become. Maybe a little lace beanie??

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So I don’t just knit shawls, I do knit other things. I just prefer knitting shawls :)

But I don’t just knit. I cook, too. This afternoon I made some really cool little tacos that reminded me of Antigua. Sorry, no pics, but they were great and super easy. Next time I make them, and I will make them again, I’ll try to snap some photos before they’re devoured.

Tempeh Tacos

  1. Tempeh, cut into strips and steam for about 5 minutes
  2. Season with lemon juice and curry powder
  3. Heat a pan over medium-high, add a tablespoon or so of coconut oil, and sautee the strips, till they’re crispy on both sides
  4. Julienne some green & red cabbage
  5. Cut some tomatoes into matchsticks
  6. Heat some sprouted corn tortillas on a hot pan until they’re fragrant
  7. Assemble: Spread a little sweet & spicy mustard on a tortilla. Layer on some cabbage, tomatoes, tempeh and more cabbage
  8. Fold and eat. Oh yeah!!

 

I also made a delicious veggie stew/soup the other day. Sort of a “goodbye winter – hello springtime” kind of dish.

Veggie Soup with Lemon

It had all kinds of goodies in it: tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, cabbage, kale, lots of cilantro and -- the dot on the i -- lemon juice. Not just regular old lemon juice. Juiced organic lemon juice. Before the other fruits and veggies go into the juicer each day, I drop in a lemon or two, peel and all. Out comes the most fragrant nectar that makes anything it goes on taste vibrantly delicious. It’s incredible on salads in place of vinegar, in juices, and as a seasoning. Lip-smacking good, I’m telling you. We keep a jar in the fridge and it’s finding its way into all kinds of edibles. Tomorrow it’s going to make an appearance in the chickpeas I’ve got soaking – mmmm, lemony hummos. Can’t wait!

Last pic of today’s post…Sonoma snoozing in the car. Isn’t she a doll?

Nomi snoozing in the car

Still here and kicking….

It’s been 4 months to the day since my last post. What?!? Time flows by so quickly, pulling us swiftly along through the currents…come la bianca scia di un’elica…

And there’s been lots of water under the bridge – Texas is no longer considered a drought state!! – and lots of snow on the ground – Texas had record snowfalls this winter. We were down at the lake when the big snowstorm hit. It really was beautiful. I spent the days working with the fireplace blazing, lots of hot tea, and watching the girls frolicking in the snow. After my workday, we’d go for walks, marveling at how different the landscape looks all frosted in a gazillion snowflakes…miraculously enough, each one different. Amazing!!

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Lots of knitting going on, too.

IMG_3728 IMG_3753 IMG_3716 Kiri

I keep hearing how knitting is the new yoga. Don’t know about that, but it’s amazing how many knitters there are out there. The lines today at Woolie Ewe were long and slow-moving. Maybe that’s the yogic part about knitting :)

Going to Florida next month for business pleasure and want to knit myself a cotton wrap. I’ve got some “flamingo pink” Araucania Merino wool that’s going to be another Ishbel, like this grape-colored one…

Ishbel Grape

but I also wanted something sunny and cottony. Found a lovely light marigold cotton by Araucania, with a lovely sheen. Also found some lovely light, light silvery lilac Cascade Yarns pima cotton. Which one shall I start first? More likely is which one will I finish first? Can I finish both before April 26th? On 3.5 mm needles?? Hm, the race is on.

Lots of cooking going on, too. With the warmer weather I’m getting excited about doing more raw. Stocked up on buckwheat, quinoa, millet, lots of fruit. It’s like the summer wardrobe for the dehydrator. Sprouted buckwheat granola. Flax seed bread. I’m going to try dehydrating miso, at my mom’s request. I can just imagine that powdered miso would be fantastic sprinkled over all sorts of things.

Been on an uttapam kick, too. Loaded with chiles, veggies, and cilantro. Served with coconut chutney and sambar. Mm, can it get any better? The Indian market up the road carries a lovely ready-made dosa batter that we’ve been buying. It’s just urad dal, rice, salt, and water. Easy enough to make the batter yourself, but sometimes it’s hard to get the soaked rice and dal ground finely enough. Then there’s the waiting for it to soak and get that light sour flavor. The ready-made is just that, ready. No waiting. I’d never made coconut chutney before but tried it this week and it was easy enough…Here’s how I made mine:

Banana’s Coconut Chutney

1 c grated coconut

2 hot green chiles

about 4-5 sprigs of cilantro

water

1 t coconut oil

2 t mustard seed

2 t cumin seed

curry leaves

1 T urad dal

1 dried red chile

salt to taste

1. In a blender, whir together the coconut, green chiles, cilantro, and enough water to keep the chutney blending. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a small saute pan. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, curry leaves, and red chile. Stir and take care when the seeds start popping – you may need to cover the pan with a lid. Don’t allow to burn.

3. Stir the spice mixture into the coconut.

4. Season with salt and enjoy.